An $853,000 grant will help expand Yakima Valley Community College’s winery and vineyard technology programs beyond its two campuses.

The National Science Foundation has awarded a three-year grant to YVCC, South Seattle Community College and Wenatchee Valley College in order for the three schools to offer students enhanced opportunities to become well-rounded in the state’s wine and grape industry.

According to a news release, the colleges will share resources and develop new online and hybrid curriculum. Under the project proposal, students from one college could take some of the specialty courses offered by another. For instance, a YVCC student could earn certificates in wine business entrepreneurship only available through South Seattle and one in viticulture sustainability from Wenatchee.

“It’s a leveraging of each institution’s strengths,” said Trent Ball, the YVCC agricultural department chair.

Because the programs will be online, students would not have to travel to the other community colleges, he added.

According to the news release, the goal of the collaboration is to increase the number of employable graduates from wine industry programs. The project would increase partnerships with industry representatives, as well as create more training opportunities for current employees of the wine and grape industry, specifically in science, technology and math.